March 27, 2017
News that Justin Trudeau’s Liberals are preparing to table legislation to legalize pot next month have appeared, no doubt uncoincidentally, at a moment when the government’s progressive bona fides are under increasingly vigorous attack.
The old saw that Liberals run on the left and govern on the right seems broadly to apply to Trudeau’s party. Take its abandoned promise on electoral reform, its unambitious second budget, troubling delays on new transparency measures and tax-code changes, as well as a mixed record on indigenous reconciliation. It would be fair to say, at least, that the Liberals have disappointed a good number of left-leaning critics.
This, as one might expect, has given new energy to New Democrats. During Sunday’s NDP leadership debate, the candidates enumerated with relish a litany of broken or undelivered Liberal commitments, focusing on one promise in particular: the legalization of marijuana.
But now that complaint seems to have been neutralized. As first reported by CBC News, the government is planning to bring in legislation next month with the aim of legalizing pot by July 1 of next year.
This is welcome news. Some 70 per cent of Canadians support legalization and the evidence suggests that, if done right, it will do much more good than harm. Moreover, the longer it takes the government to act on its promise, the longer the current destructive confusion around pot laws will persist.ful to get it right.